In three weeks I'll be standing alongside some of the hottest people on the planet, so I've decided to up my game just a little bit. I started the 21 Day Fix again earlier this week. It's been a lot harder this time around. Last time, my husband had moved ahead of me to our new state, while I stayed behind and finished out my last month at my job. It was just me, so there was no temptation. I bought exactly what I needed, didn't keep treats in the house, and quite frankly, just re-watched Harry Potter movies and went to bed early most nights. This time around, my roll dog is here. He gets home from work and I suddenly have the urge to go on a date. Or I find an amazing pinterest (click this link to follow me!) recipe that there is just NO WAY to make healthy. It's so much harder, and really makes me appreciate and understand my challengers who have unsupportive spouses or family members, constantly sabotaging them by bringing home pizza or donuts. I will say in my hubby's defense that in our house, it's usually me doing the sabotaging (who WOULDN'T want to go out on a date with that guy?). Anyways, I'm getting a little bit off topic.
So here I am, a few days into the fix, and I realize we are out of a few staples. Normally I go to the grocery store, and shop mostly the perimeter, so I don't have to go through the chip aisle and ice cream section. I was on my way home from the post office, and Walmart is on that route, so out of convenience, I decided to pop in there. One of the things that I needed was all the way in the back of the store, right next to where they have the "meals to go" section...you know...the place where they have the fried chicken, fried okra, french fries, macaroni and cheese and anything else that could put you into an early grave if eaten too often. First of all, It smelled SO good. Secondly, I'm really not trying to knock the hustle. It's only there because it sells. If people stopped buying they'd stop selling. I totally get it. It still doesn't make it cool though. For people like me who have health and fitness goals AND struggle with food, it's torture. So here I am, cottage cheese in hand, heading back to the front of the store, when I noticed a super colorful cart coming towards me, just packed with "goodies". I then started to take note, as I walked past aisle after aisle of colorful boxes, of all of the delicious things coming at me. Things that I may not have even noticed if I hadn't waited too long to eat, and wasn't currently under a little bit of a restriction from being on the fix. Suddenly I wanted potato chips. Not the thin kind, the wavy ones, because I like the way they crunch when I eat them. Oooh, bagel bites look delicious! Nevermind, they have pepperoni and this girl doesn't eat piggies anymore (see how easy THAT thought was to dismissed!?!?! It's because I have a real WHY as to why I don't eat them...You CAN live without bacon, people, you just have to care enough to give it up.) Anyways, yeah, so there I am, salivating over one of those bags of mini donuts....the kind that are rolled in a peanut like substance (I'm not sure if they actually qualify as peanuts, but whatevs), when I suddenly realized, I don't really even LIKE those things (they are always soggy and could never compare to dunkin). It's just that the packaging is all so bright and inviting. It really was sucking me in! Because I was hungry, I was SO susceptible to the marketing that these companies pray on. It dawned on me how many people TRULY, MINDLESSLY put these things into their cart EVERY time they go shopping, because they either don't know any better, get fooled by false advertising, or are just lured by cute packaging that makes our brain say "ooh this looks good, I gotta try it". It really is a GAUNTLET for people who are at least trying to be health conscious. So what do we do? Not go to the store? I gotta be honest, I don't know the answer! For me, I fall right into the trap. I can go to the store with a list (which definitely HELPS, I will say), and unless I stick to ONLY the perimeter and am not at all distracted by a cleverly decorated "endcap", I will usually come home with something extra. Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sun Chips? Don't mind if I do! There's always something that gets me, and that's why I have seen challengers lose 50 pounds in a few months, where it's taken me YEARS to lose them. I STRUGGLE with food. I will always have to work harder than a girl who really loves vegetables. I just have had to learn to make trade offs with myself. I will buy a box of triscuits, but I will not buy myself a bag of potato chips. I will buy myself a pint of Ben & Jerry's half baked fro yo, but I will not buy a gallon of full on ice cream. These are the trade offs that I'm comfortable with. I have friends who are truly passionate about clean eating. They practice it, they preach it. They most likely will outlive me (by just a few years) and look hotter in a bikini come swimsuit season. And I'm ok with that. Because with cleaning up my diet, yet still allowing myself treats here and there that aren't "clean" (hello processed nacho cheese!) I've found a balance between what is important to me (I'm sorry, yummy food is important. It just is) and lowering my cholesterol (Thank you, Shakeology!), or getting to a point where I at least feel GOOD in a bikini. I'm not anywhere near where my DREAM body is, but hey, that just gives me something to strive for during my workouts. Nevertheless, I AM healthy (not as healthy as my vegan counterparts, but I'd venture a guess that I'm healthier than MOST of America), and I feel great, because I've learned to save the cheeseypoofs and cupcakes for special occasions, and keep my diet healthy the other 80% of the time. That's really the best advice I can give. I've found MY balance. If you need help finding yours, reach out to me. I'd love to help you.
Vegetables...I have NEVER liked them. As I've gotten older and learned to cook them myself in ways that don't make me gag, I've begrudgingly added them to my diet, ONLY because I know that my body needs them. If solid research came out tomorrow that veggies don't do anything for your health, I could easily say goodbye to our green little friends and never look back. But (unfortunately) we all know that isn't going to happen. Vegetables are VITAL to your health, and the truth is, most Americans don't eat ANYWHERE NEAR what we are supposed to each day. When I was little, and forced to sit at the table until I ate everything on my plate, I vividly remember swallowing mouthfuls of peas with a big gulp of milk. To this day, even thinking about actually chewing and swallowing peas makes me want to gag. Somehow, though, I must have been channeling my future self, who literally looks forward to drinking peas daily now. Yep. I said DRINKING peas (What the what?). They are one of the many ingredients in Shakeology, which I drink every morning and at this point, quite honestly could not live without. I'm not going to go on an on about the ingredients (most of which I can't pronounce and have no idea what they do) or the taste, or even the health benefits, which are PROFOUND (My LDL, or 'bad' cholesterol, went from 143 to 89 after 3 months of drinking it). This post, ladies and gents, isn't going to be about the goodness of shakeology. I think if you know me and have ever asked why I'm so addicted to it, you have already gotten an earful. In this post I plan to gloss over all the benefits and skip right to the awkward part...the cost. Yep. I said it. The dreaded money issue.
Here's the deal. I'm not claiming to know intimate details about anyone's finances. I'm fully aware that there are some people who literally live paycheck to paycheck (or less) and CANNOT account for ANY additional expenses or "fun money" in their budget. The good news is, they aren't my intended audience for this post. Who I am talking to is most of the people I know. Most of America, actually. If you work a 9-5 job, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. What do you see every morning while sitting in traffic? A line wrapped around your local McDonald's, Burger King, and Starbucks. I'm not calling out those chains here at all. I can't knock the hustle. They serve what people want (If anyone's headed out, I'll take an egg and cheese croissanwich, please!), and charge what people are willing to pay. Did you see what I did there? WILLING TO PAY. Every day, hundreds of thousands (maybe millions? I have no concept of that kinda stuff) of people spend their morning or lunch hour in a drive thru, or pop into Starbuck's to get their morning latte. These purchases are AT LEAST $4-5, and they are purchasing something that has little to no nutritional value. Yet when people ask about the cost of Shakeology, they are FLABBERGASTED that something that contains almost an entire day's worth of nutrients, includes antioxidants and superfoods, and could replace that coffee or McGriddle, would cost $4 a serving. Now I know, I know, you can't buy it by the serving. You have to buy it up front. That's because they don't sell it on every street corner (unfortunately). But that's literally the ONLY difference between Shakeology drinkers and the fast food/coffee crowd. We pay for ours once a month. They pay for it day by day. Wait...No...I lied. That's not the only difference. We are paying for something that NOURISHES our body, not something that will flow through you and splatter the back wall of the toilet in your office bathroom for your coworkers to look at until the cleaning crew comes by the next morning (I used to work in an office building...trust me, I know what I'm talking about). Here's another thing: How many people "go out" on a weekend? You can EASILY spend $25 each weekend on bar tabs, cover charges, movie tickets, or even shopping for shoes or getting a mani/pedi. The difference there? Rather than breaking it up morning by morning in the drive thru, you're breaking it up weekend by weekend. Guaranteed, if you spent $100 in one weekend shopping, you would tighten up a little bit for the rest of the month, right? Sure, but the point is YOU COULD AFFORD IT. It's just WHERE you see VALUE.
Some people see value in shoes and handbags. Some people see value in a monthly massage or pedicure. And some poor souls see value in their morning processed meat patty and greasy hashbrowns, which are slowly pushing them into an early grave. I see value in knowing that I'm getting EVERYTHING that my body needs daily. Do I have to give up some things because I drink Shakeology? Sure! I have all but given up fast food. If someone can explain to me how that's NOT a good thing, I'd be happy to listen. I paint my nails at home. Quite honestly, I shop rarely. Not because I don't LOVE shopping, but because since I've started drinking Shakeology and become healthier in general, I cannot stay in one size. I am literally shrinking, so I don't like to invest a lot in clothes at the moment. Alright, you get it (I hope)...I'm not trying to bully anyone into drinking Shakeology. It's YOUR life. As much as I love to help people, your health is YOUR PROBLEM, not mine (and quite honestly, Shakeology isn't the ONLY way to get healthy. It's just what I recommend). All I can do is offer my advice and support if you WANT to become healthier. But please, PLEASE, if you have a smart phone, internet connection, cable, go out on the weekends, stop at the fast food drive thru a few times a week, or hit up the Olive Garden twice a month, DO NOT tell me that the reason you are not buying something that could change your life and DEFINITELY make you healthier is because you don't have the money. You HAVE the money. You just don't see VALUE in spending it on Shakeology. Please tell me that instead. Because I promise, if you really wanted it, chances are if we sat down and looked at your finances, we all know that you could find somewhere to pull it from.
There I was, up at 7am, doing my 21 Day Fix Pilates workout. I couldn't believe I had actually rolled out of bed when the alarm went off, but I had made a commitment to get up early and work out with my husband before he went to work. So were on the floor, at 7:22am, doing our scissor lifts, when suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder blade. I finished the move and sat up. It felt like I had woken up with a severely stiff neck, only minutes before I was just fine! I must have pulled something. I finished my workout and got into a hot shower. It helped, for sure. "Ok", I said to myself while getting out of the shower "that was the worst of it." I rotated my head all around and felt very little soreness. I got dressed and plopped in front of the computer screen to do some work. I heard something outside after a few minutes and turned my head to look out the window...OUCH! The pain was back. I spent the rest of the day trying to stay in motion, because everything felt better until I stopped moving. I went to sleep that night hoping that I would wake up in the morning and feel better. No such luck. Another hot shower and I was feeling good again. I consulted facebook (obviously) as to what to do and whether I should exercise. I got exactly what you would think I got in response...Lots of differing opinions. Some saying use ice, some saying heat. Some encouraging exercise, and others cautioning to stay away. I sat back and decided to really think about my situation. When I got out of the shower, I had full range of mobility in my neck and shoulders. Only when I sat stationary did I tense up and start feeling pain. So, instead of opting for a workout where I would be using lots of shoulder and back strength, I decided a run might warm me up and get some blood flowing to the area. I got dressed, laced up, and headed out, thinking I'd just go a mile or so. I got about a quarter mile from my house, and looked to my left...no pain. Right? None there either! Up at the sky? Nada. Down at my feet? You guessed it! No pain anywhere! Here's what I'm getting at folks. I could have used this "injury" as an excuse to lay around all day wrapped up in a blanket watching E!. But I knew that I WASN'T injured. I knew that it was a sore muscle. Inconvenient place for it..sure...but still just a sore muscle. While enjoying the rest of my triumphant 4 mile run that day, I was reminded of the excuses that people give themselves. I say that because when you give an excuse about your fitness, it's not anyone else that you're bullshitting. Just you. The person that you are spouting your excuses to, about why you can't do what they do could not care one bit, so you're better off just saving your breath or commiserating with other bullshitters.
"But MY excuse is different..."
No. It's not. Before you call the gratitude police here, I realize that my sore muscle affliction was not a serious disease or life threatening injury. I am not, by any means, attempting to call out people who have legitimate medical problems that truly prevent them from incorporating some form of exercise into their life. I realize that my sore muscle doesn't compare to some of the ailments that I am fortunate enough not to have, so please don't get it twisted. Who I'm talking to, are the bullshitters. The people that say they "wish" they could exercise, but they have "a bad back" and use that as their reasoning for being out of shape, instead of calling it like it is, and saying "I don't have the motivation to find a workout that I CAN do with my issues." Why am I saying this? Because I WAS a bullshitter. I had "bad knees"...I still do! But nowadays, instead of using it as an excuse, when I power through a Turbo Fire workout, I do everything I am capable of, and when we get to that certain move where something just doesn't feel right for me, I MODIFY. What I don't do, is quit. I just keep moving, changing up the move however I need to, in order to make it less painful for me. Trust me, we ALL have issues. We ALL have aches and pains. When I first started running, using the"Couch to 5K" plan, I was 210 pounds with severe sciatica pain. I would literally not be able to walk upright after a run. I did all of my runs in the evening, ate dinner, and got right into bed, because I knew I would be out of commission until the next day. My DESIRE to run and get my weight down, was greater than my excuses. These issues, compounded with a lot of knee pain began to effect me less and less as I got fitter and lighter. My sciatic pain went from every night, to once in a blue moon. Again, I'm not trying to make light of anyone's reasons for not exercising, as long as they are legitimate reasons. However, if you tell me you have "bad knees", I'll tell you about one of my challengers who has the same problem, yet got a membership at her local "Y" so that she could swim (swimming is a great workout for people with injuries). If you tell me you're "too old", I'll tell you about one of my friend's fathers, who took up running at age 68 and trained for and ran his first half marathon while he was undergoing chemotherapy (Check out his amazing story,here.). If you tell me that you have kids and are too busy, I'll tell you about countless women I work with DAILY that make the time for themselves to exercise, even if it's just 25 minutes a day after the kids go to sleep. I have challengers with thyroid issues, and fellow coaches with MS and fibromyalgia. They exercise on their good days, and rest when things flare up. EVERYONE has an excuse. EVERYONE has an ailment. And if you don't want to exercise or eat healthy, that's just fine...Honestly! It's your health, and your life. What drives me, and I think a lot of other people who strive to be in good shape crazy, is the excuse spouters. Please just stop offering up excuses, because not only do we mentally "check out" of the conversation once we realize what you're doing, but you just may be giving a lame excuse like "bad knees" to someone who has recently lost 150lbs, or continues to work through a potentially debilitating illness to get into the best shape of their life. Instead, please just say that your WILL to get in shape is not strong enough to OVERCOME your excuses, because that's all it is. If you have a MODERATELY healthy body, you have every ability in the world to get out there and do SOMETHING, even if it's just walking. If you are ready to quit giving in to those excuses, and you feel that WILL inside of you saying that you need to make a CHANGE, now is the time to strike. Put an end to your excuses and focus on that DESIRE! There is no reason why YOU can't be a success story. You CAN be someone who overcomes their situation. All it takes is belief in yourself and the desire to get out there and get started. If you choose to believe in yourself and need some support or help modifying your exercise routine to INCORPORATE whatever your excuse is (age, injury, or time), reach out to me. I'm here, and happy to help you, because I've been there too.
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.